Marve Studios will introduce a new property on the big screen in 2015, when the Ant-Man movie serves as the official beginning of “Phase 3” for Marvel’s Shared Universe. Earlier in the year, however, the studio will premiere two new small screen properties: Agent Carter and Daredevil, the latter being the first of four planned Netflix series based around Marvel superheroes who hang around Hell’s Kitchen. (The shows will crossover in a Defenders mini-series down the line.)
Agent Carter, like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will be airing on ABC, and is expected to strike a tone similar to the latter’s – one that still allows for the inclusion of more adult elements, but not too intense and/or mature for a family audience. Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, when he spoke to Empire Magazine (via CBM), indicated that the Marvel Netflix series may have greater flexibility, tonally-speaking, than other Marvel shows.
Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada has touched on this issue before, having said before that the studio’s upcoming Netflix series may feel different than even past film releases – with shows like Daredevil and Luke Cage exploring the “street level Noir side of the Marvel Universe.” Sarandos echoed that sentiment during his talk with Empire, as he offered the following answer when asked how the Daredevil series will differ from the 2003 movie adaptation of the comic book property (and the precedent that will set for the Hell’s Kitchen-based series that follow, in turn).
“The [‘Daredevil’] series will not be afraid to go darker than the film did. What we love about this particular set of heroes [from Hell’s Kitchen] is that they’re a little more down to Earth. Costume wise and also in that these are gritty crime stories, more in the streets than in the clouds.”
It makes sense for Daredevil to be more hard-hitting than previous Marvel shows; not just because of the character and his world on the comic book page (though that’s part of it), but also because Netflix will place fewer restrictions on the show’s content than, say, ABC does with S.H.I.E.L.D.. We’ve seen a trend in the personnel recruited for these series thus far – see the Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (the creator of Spartacus) and Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg (ex-writer/producer on Dexter) – that suggests the other Hell’s Kitchen shows will take advantage of that extra space – and thus, feel more like cable programs set in the Marvel Universe.
Daredevil is currently shooting and will be made available on Netflix beginning May 2015, but there’s been no announcement yet about when Jessica Jones might begin production (much less, when it’ll hit Netflix). Sarandos offered something of an update on the situation during his Empire talk, while he also revealed what the big step will be in the construction of this Marvel Netflix universe – namely, finding the right person to play Jessica Jones.
“Right now, the writers’ rooms are open and they’re looking at casting Jessica. If you sense some hesitation in my voice, that’s classic Marvel fashion. They like to keep that veil of secrecy. But Daredevil is already shooting, since that’s out first. Eventually the series will run very close together. You can then have a separate season where the characters will cross over [with ‘The Defenders’].”
Sarandos, as you can see, did not elaborate much on the casting process for Jessica Jones; it’s still safe to assume that we’ll learn more about that series (including, who ends up landing the title role), sometime before 2014 draws to a close. Chances are that Marvel Studios will go with more of a less-known up and comer for the role, much as it did when it cast Boardwalk Empire‘s Charlie Cox to play Matt Murdock on Daredevil – before filling out the remainder of the cast with a mix of bigger name types and character actor talent (a la Vincent D’Onofrio for Daredevil).
The Netflix head also mentioned that a potential crossover between the Hell’s Kitchen superhero series and Marvel Studios’ film releases “has definitely been talked about.” Given the nature of Marvel’s Shared Universe, though, wouldn’t it have been more noteworthy if Sarandos has said that was not an option? Moving on…
Daredevil premieres on Netflix in May 2015.